President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticized ahead of his presentation at the ongoing 26th Conference of Parties, COP26, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, in Glasgow Scotland.
This year’s conference, hosted by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy, will bring parties together to help accelerate action towards the Paris Agreement as well as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
COP26 is a global summit aimed at finding lasting solutions to environmental, and climate issues.
Given Nigeria’s leading role in taking climate action and as a signatory to the Paris Agreement, COP 26 will afford a unique opportunity for the Nigerian delegation to work with other parties to make progress on the main goals of the conference, including securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5C within reach; adapting to protect communities and natural habitats as well as mobilising the much needed finances to meet the set targets.
Buhari will on Tuesday deliver his national statement at the high-Level segment for Heads of State and Government at the conference.
The president’s address is expected to highlight Nigeria’s key priorities and action to tackle climate change as well as progress on the country’s transition to a low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.
However, Buhari’s presence at the global summit has been questioned due to the high level privacy in preparing for the event by the Nigerian leader.
National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko questioned if Buhari was at the summit for the expected financial gains.
From recent post, Onwubiko said industrial nations are expected to compensate some African countries for pollution caused across the continent.
He suggested that the anticipated financial gains may be the reason behind Buhari’s visit to Glasgow.
The activist anchored his suggestions on the fact that there was no public knowledge of Buhari meeting with Nigerian climate experts ahead of his trip to Glasgow.
Upon arrival, the HURIWA National Coordinator lamented that the Nigerian president has done more of photos than engage in formal conversations with world leaders.
He noted that Nigeria lacks national action plan on environmental protection.
According to Onwubiko: “The focus of the world is on the environmental summit taking place in the heart of western Europe in Glasgow Scotland which is hosted by the United Kingdom. Nigeria is reportedly participating. President Muhammadu Buhari who loves globetrotting has already left for the conference. The question is for what reason is Nigeria which lacks national action plan on environmental protection participating in a global conference? Is President Muhammadu Buhari participating because of the possible cash incentives that may be paid out to African nations by some of the most industrialised nations that are guilty of the pollution ?
“It’s a global summit that world leaders will discuss extensively on the health of our environment and the dynamics of the climate. They will discuss how the environment is being polluted, effect of environmental pollution on the health of earth inhabitants.
“It’s an international forum that ought to present an international action plan, but I do not think that Nigeria has any environmental action. See the way the president conducted himself at the meeting; from most of the reports, you see him moving around and chatting informally. Talking about the Armed Forces remembrance emblem.
“This is not the reason why the president went to that meeting. He is not suppose to be in Glasgow for photo ops, like standing with the Prime Minister of Britain, Jeff Bezos and the likes. This is not why the president is there. Nigeria is facing a lot of environmental challenges.
“By the way, why were environmental campaigners, Civil Society Organizations, stakeholders, people that talk about planting of trees, eco-system, people that talk about the devastation of the Niger Delta by the multinational companies, and other experts within this field were left out?
“Nobody ever noticed any kind of preparatory meetings held in Abuja or any part of the country, that this is the presentation delegates from Nigeria led by the president would table before the world.
“They travelled to Glasgow, then wrote an article, where they accused the west of not practicing what they preach, then you begin to ask why is he accusing the west of not practicing what they preach? What has he done as the president of this country to implement economic policies that would not make it possible for people who were using cooking gas to now resort to using firewood? A lot of those using cooking gas can no longer refill their cylinders because the price of cooking gas has increased by over 500 percent.
“And you know what this means, there would be a lot of felling of trees, economic trees would be destroyed and as people begin to use firewood, the environment would be impacted.”